The SF Giants added veteran bat Yoshi Tsutsugo late in the 2023 season and it appears that they might be preparing to welcome him back next season. According to Andrew Baggarly of the The Athletic, the Giants are in discussions to re-sign him to a minor league deal with a camp invite.
SF Giants are in discussions to re-sign veteran left-handed bat
Giants fans might have their eyes on a different left-handed bat, but wherever he lands will done later in the offseason. For now, the Giants are rebuilding the upper minors after so many players recently became free agents.
Tsutsugo was on that list, but a reunion seemed possible, if not likely. The Giants signed him late in the year, which is an uncommon time to add players on minor league deals. It happens, but it there is usually a targeted reason for the signing. For example, maybe a team signs a pitcher on a minor league deal who has a track record of success but has missed time due to injury.
Anyways, given the timing of the deal, it seemed like the Giants had plans for the 31-year-old whether that was in 2023 or the following season.
Before coming stateside, Tsutsugo was a force with the Yokohama Bay Stars of the NPB. Across 10 seasons, he registered an .883 OPS while hitting at least 20 home runs in eight seasons, including a 45-homer outburst in 2016.
The Tampa Bay Rays added him on a two-year, $12 million pact after the 2019 season. This was a rather large investment for a team like Tampa Bay. He posted a respectable .708 OPS with eight home runs in 185 plate appearances in his first year with the Rays.
However, his numbers quickly plummeted in 2021 and he was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a minor move. The former NPB star struggled with Los Angeles and was released before latching on with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He performed well to finish the year, earning a one-year, $4 million pact to return to Pittsburgh.
His 2022 campaign got off to a similar start as his 2021 season and he was released in the middle of the year. Since then, Tsutsugo has bounced around the minor league circuit before finishing this year with the Giants organization.
With the Giants, he spent the bulk of his time in Double-A, posting a .311/.436/.578 line with four home runs, 10 RBI, and nine runs in 55 plate appearances. The lefty bat was moved up to Triple-A late in the year, recording two hits in nine at-bats. Wherever Tustsugo has played, he has displayed good plate discipline as he has posted an 11.6 percent walk rate in the majors.
These are not the type of moves that make the headlines, but they are a necessary part of the offseason. Many teams lose a large number of minor leaguers to free agency, so they have to scour the minor league market.
Oftentimes, putting together a Triple-A roster is done on a year-to-year basis as there is little continuity and no guarantee that draft picks will reach that level, which is typically how teams in the lower minors are formed. The Tsutsugo move, when completed, will add a little extra depth at first base and gives the organization someone with a skill that they covet - plate discipline.